According to a recent GTM/SEIA study, residential solar installation costs in the U.S. were basically unchanged from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015. But Customer Acquisition costs actually went up. While solar panel, inverter and mounting system costs have consistently declined, the data show that it is getting increasingly expensive to identify, contact and sell a system to a homeowner.
I find it quite ironic that the marketing and sales costs to find a solar customer are greater than the labor costs to actually install a system. There is a lot of money to be made in identifying a warm body who is interested in solar. In fact, many companies in the solar industry focus only on customer acquisition — and sell the resulting leads or signed contracts to local installers.
My guest on this week’s show is Chris Stern, a founder of Pure Energies. They started out as an installer in Canada, but then began to specialize in customer acquisition. Pure Energies became so effective at finding potential solar customers that they sold the business to a national scale solar installer. Please join me on this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World as Chris explains the website “funnels”, internet advertising tricks and call centers that provide fuel to the residential solar industry.